Antarctic dust helps scientists unravel details of past climate changeMarch 30th, 2009 - 12:32 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, March 30 (ANI): In a new study, dust trapped deep in Antarctic ice sheets is helping scientists unravel details of past climate change.
The study, carried out by the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling and Lille, has found that the very coldest periods of the last ice age correspond with the dustiest periods in Antarctica’s past, thus establishing a link between the two.
They found that dust blown south to Antarctica from the windy plains of Patagonia - and deposited in the ice periodically over 80,000 years - provides vital information about glacier activity.
It indicates that the ebb and flow of glaciers in the Chilean and Argentinian region is a rich source of information about past climates - which had not until now been fully appreciated by scientists.
During the last ice age, glaciers in Patagonia were at their biggest and released their meltwater, containing dust particles, on to barren windy plains, from where dust was blown to Antarctica.
When the glaciers retreated even slightly, their meltwater ran into lakes at the edge of the ice, which trapped the dust, so that fewer particles were blown across the ocean to Antarctica.
Dust from the ice cores was analysed and found to be a close match with mud of the same age in the Magellan Straits, showing that most of the dust originated in this region.
According to Professor David Sugden, of the University of Edinburgh, “Ice cores from the Antarctic ice sheet act as a record of global environment. However, the dust levels showed some sudden changes which had us puzzled - until we realised that the Patagonian glaciers were acting as an on/off switch for releasing dust into the atmosphere.” (ANI)
- Ice age to interglacial period: Greatest climate change - Jul 24, 2012
- How did Antarctic succumb to ice age? - Jun 28, 2011
- Antarctic ice 'may be more stable than previously thought' - Mar 05, 2011
- Glaciers 'melting 100 times faster than at any time in 350 yrs' - Apr 04, 2011
- NZ glaciers melted as European expanded at the end of ice age - Sep 09, 2010
- Antarctica was once a warm "greenhouse" world - Apr 30, 2010
- New digital map reveals more secrets about Antarctica - Dec 16, 2011
- Warm ocean currents cause ice loss from Antarctica - Apr 26, 2012
- Drop in CO2 triggered polar ice sheet formation - Dec 02, 2011
- Pine Island Glacier behind thinning ice in Antarctica - Jun 21, 2010
- Arctic subjected to intense warm climate intervals - Jun 22, 2012
- Global warming curbs won't prevent steep sea rise - Mar 21, 2012
- Glaciers melting 100 times faster - Apr 04, 2011
- Scientists pinpoint cause of past sea level rises - Jul 12, 2012
- Melting glaciers on Arctic islands play major role in rise of sea level - Apr 21, 2011
Tags: antarctic ice sheet, antarctic ice sheets, climate change, climates, close match, david sugden, dust levels, dust particles, ebb and flow, global environment, ice cores, last ice age, magellan straits, meltwater, patagonian glaciers, plains of patagonia, professor david, rich source, sudden changes, university of edinburgh